Beyond Skin Deep: The Psychological Effects Of Scarring

Beyond Skin Deep: The Psychological Effects Of Scarring

Scarring can be caused by injury, acne, or burns, and can have a profound emotional effect on you. So let’s see how you can reduce its appearance.

While every scar has a story behind it, not every story is good. Putting aside the physical discomfort – some can be itchy and sore – many scars can cause some adverse long-term psychological effects.

Many studies have shown that scarring can cause embarrassment and anxiety about the reactions of others to the scars.

Other scars can have traumatic memories and associations attached to them.

In this article, we will look at how permanent scarring, such as those caused by injury, acne, and burns can have a profound emotional effect on someone, and what can be done to reduce the appearance of scarring.

The Psychological Effects Of Scarring

Here’s how physical scarring can affect your mind:

1. Anxiety

One of the first things we notice about other people is their appearance, and if they have visible scars, it can lead to questions about how they occurred.

While some people are more than happy to share the stories behind them, others may not want to talk about them.

Feeling self-conscious about their skin can make some people withdraw socially. They may stop going out, or it may influence who they go out with, where they go and what they wear.

What we think of everyday situations and events – going to the beach or a swimming pool, for example, can cause significant worry and anxiety.

2. Depression

Continued social isolation due to anxiety over scarring can, in the long term, cause depression.

If someone wakes up every single morning, afraid to look in the mirror, they may begin to doubt their overall self-worth, especially if they are not spending time with other people.

Acne can often cause depression, as it is usually at it’s worst during the teenage years when teasing and bullying is much more likely to happen.

3. Sleep Problems

Depression and anxiety can cause problems with sleep, or make existing problems even worse.

Someone suffering from mental health issues caused by physical scarring may spend the night tossing and turning, worrying about their appearance and how others may look at them.

In turn, this worsens the mental health issues, leading to a vicious circle which is incredibly hard to break free of.

Not only that, but a bad night’s sleep can lead to poor performance at work or school and increases the risk of injury and other health problems.

4. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

If the scar was caused by something particularly traumatic, such as an injury or emergency surgery, it could cause, in extreme cases, post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

This can have a significant effect on day to day life. It can cause people to re-experience the event that led to the scarring, cause nightmares and even physical pain.

It is not uncommon for those suffering from PTSD to turn to alcohol and/or drugs or to self-harm to try and block out those feelings. Others push families and friends away, in an attempt to feel nothing at all.

When we think about treating scarring, it is crucial that we consider not just the physical impact, but the mental effect as well.

While most scars, both physical and mental, can never completely disappear, there is a lot we can do to treat both.

How Can We Treat Scarring?

Some treatments for scarring include:

1. Topical Skin Care Products

Vitamin E and cocoa butter are known for helping to heal scarring.

There are also a variety of commercial skin products such as those from Amaira Skincare which can be used at home to fade and reduce the appearance of the scar.

2. Micro-Needling

In a nutshell, lots of small puncture holes are made into the superficial layer of skin to encourage the production of collagen and elastin.

This helps to rejuvenate and repair skin tissue. You can learn more about micro-needling here.

3. Filler Injections/Bellafill

This is particularly effective when used to treat acne scarring. It helps to raise sunken scars to the same level of the surrounding skin.

However, the effects of these injections are sometimes only temporary, and the procedure may need repeating at regular intervals.

Bellafill has more permanent effects, as the ingredients do not degrade in the same way as normal fillers.

4. Laser Resurfacing

This procedure removes the surface layers of the skin using different types of lasers. This treatment is most effective in removing age spots, sun damage, and uneven pigmentation.

You can read more about this procedure here.

As you can see, scarring can affect you not only at the skin level but at the mental one too. So it’s important to take the right measures to treat scarring and, at the same time, to treat its psychological effects.

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